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Farm Bureau Leader Class Focuses on Engagement

Newsroom / September 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 19, 2014 – Members of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Partners in Agricultural Leadership honors program focused on engagement strategies to help farmers connect with consumers during intensive training sessions this week.


The 2013-2014 PAL class focuses on engagement strategies to help farmers connect with consumers. Row 1 (L to R): Shannon Douglass, Stacey Forshee, Katie Heger. Row 2 (L to R): Jillian Beaty, Elizabeth Kohtz, Joy Davis. Row 3 (L to R): Jason Bunting, Adam Hinton, Josh Geigle, Brandon Whitt.

“It isn’t enough for us to just tell our agricultural stories – we need to engage with consumers, stakeholders and other farmers in order to make a difference,” said PAL member Elizabeth Kohtz, DVM, of Idaho. “Passionate, effective agriculturists must be willing to advocate for the causes they believe in.”

The focus of the Farm Bureau PAL program is to develop skilled agricultural advocates and aid them in discovering how they can best use their abilities for the benefit of agriculture. The program offers young farmers and ranchers the opportunity to continue building their skills after they have served as AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee members/officers or competed in national YF&R events.

“PAL class members and other young agricultural leaders play an important role in strengthening American agriculture,” said Doug Rushing, director of industry affairs at Monsanto Company, a sponsor of the PAL program.

In addition to Kohtz, participants in the 2013-14 PAL program are: Jillian Beaty, Wisconsin; Jason Bunting, Illinois; Joy Davis, Texas; Shannon Douglass, California; Stacey Forshee, Kansas; Joshua Geigle, South Dakota; Katie Heger, North Dakota; Adam Hinton, Kentucky; and Brandon Whitt, Tennessee.

Upon graduation from the PAL program, young agricultural leaders are prepared to represent agriculture in the media, on speaking circuits or in legislative activities.

State Farm Bureaus submit one applicant per state for consideration for the PAL program. Applicants must be “Sweet 16” finalists in the national YF&R Discussion Meet; top 10 finalists in the YF&R Achievement Award or Excellence in Agriculture Award competitions; former members of the AFBF YF&R committee or former state YF&R committee chairs.

The PAL program is made possible through sponsorships from the Monsanto Company, the Farm Credit System, Agri-Pulse Communications and AFBF.

Visit /programs/pal for more information on the PAL program.

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